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Despite losses, USF&G; still has new reasons to look up

THE BALTIMORE EVENING SUN

The first quarter of 1991 hasn't been a total loss for USF&G; Corp.

Blythe and Beauregard, the two peregrine falcons that have nested on the 33rd-floor ledge of the company's headquarters building in downtown Baltimore since 1985, have produced yet another healthy quartet of dividends.

The arrival of the four new chicks, or eyases, was announced yesterday, on the same day the insurance company announced $55 million in first quarter losses. The young birds actually hatched two weeks ago, during Earth Week, after a month-long incubation, company officials said.

4( Since Blythe arrived on the ledge in

1984, four days after the death of Beauregard's former mate, Scarlett, the pair has successfully hatched 23 offspring, most of which have flown off to start families of their own.

In all, since 1978, when Scarlett established the USF&G; aerie after being released at Edgewood Arsenal by falcon researchers, 44 peregrines have been raised on the ledge by a succession of two female and three male falcons.

Peregrine falcons had disappeared from Maryland by the late 1950s because of the effects of DDT. The pesticide was banned in 1972 and falcon reintroduction efforts began in 1975.

The number of successful breeding pairs around the state has increased steadily since then.

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